Today, 26th April, 2013, the UK Zapatista Solidarity Network held a protest at the Embassy of Mexico in London in solidarity with the Zapatista support base (BAZ) community of San Marcos Avilés in the municipality of Chilón, Chiapas, Mexico. The protestors delivered a letter demanding an end to the threats, aggressions and acts of violence being made against this community by members of the Mexican political parties, with the aim of displacing the Zapatistas from their homes and their lands. This is being done, explained members of the Network, with the full support and backing of the Mexican state, in an attempt to put an end to the advances in Zapatista autonomy.
The protest was organised in response to the recent alarming renewal of the threats and acts of harassment, which has led to fears of an imminent attack and eviction. Only this week, a civil caravan for human rights observation and documentation on its way to San Marcos Avilés was threatened with violence by the party supporters. “Blood will flow”, they said, showing the impunity they enjoy.
The report presented by the caravan is shocking. The community has been living through a terrifying nightmare since it was previously displaced in 2010, following an attack with firearms. At this time 170 people, many of them women, children, the sick and the elderly, had to endure 33 days in the open without food or water, sleeping under plastic sheeting. Although they were able to return, their homes had been ransacked and plundered, and they have never felt safe since.
The letter called for an end to the threats and violence against the BAZ, and for a guarantee of their life, safety and human rights. “We will be monitoring events in San Marcos Avilés closely in the following days, and we will hold the governments of Chilon, Chiapas and Mexico responsible for any harm that may befall the BAZ of this community”.
Meanwhile, in the rest of the United Kingdom, people from Bristol, Edinburgh, Essex, Dorset, Manchester, Exeter, Sheffield and Bradford telephoned the Mexican Embassy in London and the Municipal President of Chilón, Leonardo Rafael Guirao Aguilar, who would be the local official responsible for any eviction. The callers expressed their dismay and indignation and called for immediate action to put an end to the violence.
The group ended the protest by saying “We wish through our actions today to send a message of solidarity to our dignified sisters and brothers of San Marcos Avilés. They have our full support.”
At the same time, the members of the group remembered Juan Vázquez Guzmán, ex- Secretary General of the adherents to the Sixth Declaration from the ejido of San Sebastián Bachajón, who was murdered on Wednesday night. A minute of silence was dedicated to his memory outside the Embassy.
Keep informed of the situation: http://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/latest-news/
See a photo here: http://sanmarcosavilesen.wordpress.com/photo-gallery/
Watch the videomessage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY-8CBt3Vkg
UK Zapatista Solidarity Network